Isreal Oshindoro, Lagos
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abuja has again waded into the growing crisis in the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) by suspending the body’s upcoming national elections.
The NUJ, which is the association’s mother union, in suspending the elections asked the two electoral bodies now in place for the elections to stay action “forthwith and indefinitely”.
In a letter from the union’s National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman, the NUJ said the Port-Harcourt and Abuja congresses of SWAN, which would have accompanied the elections, should also be put on hold.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the letter was addressed to Honour Sirawoo, SWAN National Chairman, and copied the two electoral bodies presently in place.
“The NUJ President has directed that you should suspend this election forthwith and indefinitely pending when all contentious issues raised in petitions to NUJ National Secretariat are resolved amicably,” Leman stated in the letter.
The NUJ also invited Sirawoo to its National Secretariat “for a meeting as soon as possible to discuss the way forward”.
NAN reports that crisis had been brewing in SWAN since Sirawoo made attempts to review the Association’s Statutes with only few days to the end of its National Executive Committee (NEC) tenure.
Sirawoo’s three-year tenure was to have ended on July 13, having been elected on July 13 of 2016 in Ilorin.
This unfortunate situation led to the emergence of a group, Concerned SWAN Members, as well as one presidential election aspirant, Ahmed Aigbona, who had through a series of petitions alerted the NUJ to the undemocratic ongoings.
The NUJ was then forced to ask Sirawoo to halt the Statutes Review.
But he had then gone on to constitute an electoral committee which issued election guidelines that sought to stop the real members of the Association from being involved in the electoral process.
The situation had led to the resignation of the committee’s chairman, Yusuf Isah, as well as the factionalisation of SWAN, leading to the formation of another electoral committee by the new faction.
NAN reports that the crisis in SWAN has seen the Association’s National Chairman writing a petition to the Department of State Security (DSS) against some of his members, without recourse to laid-down guidelines.
His action has even led to the security body inviting him to explain why he had to petition it on matters seen to be political.